Let’s face it: it can be a little hard to market Rutgers football these days. Sure, sure, there’s the sheen of Big Ten membership, but that’s muted a little bit - both by the lack of conference success, and by all of the other members of the conference angrily glaring at you for even being there.
Last season was especially rough. The Scarlet Knights went 2-10, including an 0-9 mark in Big Ten play BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE and losses to Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State by a combined score of 224-0.
Just to be clear, 39-0 home loss to Penn State was arguably their fourth-worst game of the year.
But hey, new year, new you, right? So let’s see what the intrepid marketing team at the State University of New Jersey have come up with for the season opener against 2016 playoff participant Washington:
Rutgers football opens the 2017 season on Friday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. against No. 7 Washington, presented by PNC Bank, in a game billed as the "War Before the Shore." In keeping with the time-honored New Jersey tradition to head to the shore for the final weekend of summer, Rutgers Athletics welcomes fans to attend the Friday night primetime matchup at High Point Solutions Stadium as part of their summer finale. (ScarletKnights.com)
Sure. Hey, “it’s on the way to stuff you’d rather do” has worked for other places -
... so they’re not entirely off-base here.
I like the rhyming. I like the “let’s find a silver lining” approach. In fact, I think they should roll out this strategy through the rest of their home schedule. Let’s take a look!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th: EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES
“GETTIN’ TIPSY AND LOSIN’ TO YPSI”
Look, I’m sure they thought this was going to be a cupcake game when they scheduled it, but EMU went 7-6 and played in a bowl game last year, and Rutgers [checks notes] did not. So, drink specials throughout the stadium. Do they serve alcohol at High Point Solutions Stadium? They probably should.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16th: MORGAN STATE BEARS
“WATCH US PLAY A HBCU AND HANG AROUND FOR BBBQ!”
The extra “B” is for “Boy, I really hope we don’t lose to the FCS team.”
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th: OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
“THE HUBBUB YOU RESOLD ON STUBHUB”
C’mon now, if you’re keeping these tickets, you’ve gotta have a serious talk with yourself.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21st: PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
“THE DISAGREEMEN’ BEFORE TRICK OR TREATIN’”
In keeping with the Halloween theme, one Halloween I had to be tackled into a hedge by a friend in order to keep me from drunkenly wandering into traffic. That’s what this game is going to look like.
God help me if it’s televised, I’ll probably watch it.
I’m not even sure I like football.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4th: vs. MARYLAND TERRAPINS (at Yankee Stadium)
“A CONTENTIOUS INTERCONFERENCE MELEE YOU CAN SEE PRIOR TO ATTENDING THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL ON BROADWAY”
There’s no way you’re still paying attention. That’s fine. I’m not either.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25th: MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
“LOSE TO DANTONIO THEN COME TO ANTONIO’S”
Sponsored by Antonio’s Brick Oven Pizza, just a short drive down the road in Metuchen. Because there’s nothing wrong with New Jersey* (football) that can’t be cured by what’s right with New Jersey (pizza and cannoli).
*we are legally obligated to note that there are, in fact, many things wrong with New Jersey that cannot be cured by Italian food